Family sues school upon learning their 5th grader can't read

Wanamingo, MN - (NBC) - Imagine how you would feel if you asked your fifth grader to read something and he simply could not. That's what one Wanamingo, MN family says happened with their son. Now they're suing the school district.

Mike and Laurie Farrell say it all began last summer when they asked their son Chris to read a graduation invitation they got in the mail.

"We wanted Chris to open it up and read it and see who it was from and Chris did that," Mike said. "And he wasn't able to read it."

Now, they're suing the Kenyon-Wanamingo School District.

Chris had always had an independent education plan at Kenyon-Wanamingo Schools, but his parents say they had no idea the troubles he was having in reading and math.

In his early years, Chris was diagnosed with ADHD, but after learning that Chris wasn't up to par with his classmates after fifth grade, the Farrells spent most of their summer at a local Sylvan Learning Center catching him up.

"We went every day, three hours a day, for the whole entire summer," Mike said.

Besides Sylvan, they also went to the Kenyon-Wanamingo School District for help.

"They felt that everything was fine and assured us that things would start on a good foot starting sixth grade," Mike said.

Things were not fine. Mike says the district didn't follow through.

"We were promised, after the meeting, in the summer that everything would be taken care of and ready to go the first day of school," he said. "In my mind, when we go to school we should hit the ground running."

After filing a complaint with the Department of Education, the Farrell's decided to take another step and sue the district.

The Kenyon-Wanamingo School District would not comment on the lawsuit citing data privacy statutes.

The Farrells say they want to get the word out, fearing that there could be other children in the same position.

The Farrells are seeking reimbursement for the cost of tuition at Sylvan and mileage to get to and from Rochester which is more than $21,000.

Copyright 2010 NBC. All rights reserved.